A veteran of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office has been arrested and charged with voyeurism and lewd and lascivious conduct after he allegedly touched a teenage girl’s feet as she slept while touching himself. He is also accused of secretly videotaping the girl while she undressed.
The veteran deputy, a sergeant, allegedly confessed and admitted that he had a “foot fetish.”
Lewd and Lascivious Conduct is a second-degree felony in Florida if the alleged victim is 16 or younger, and the accused is 18 or older. The state must prove that the accused “intentionally touch[ed] a person under 16 years of age in a lewd or lascivious manner.” Fla. Stat. sec. 800.04(6)(a).
Voyeurism is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail.
Lewd and lascivious conduct is a sex offense, meaning that if convicted, the accused can be made to register as a sexual offender.
Miami-Dade County has strict regulations in place for sexual offenders and sexual predators. The most rigid would be Miami-Dade County’s Sex Offender Ordinance which prohibits a sexual offender or sexual predator from living within 2,500 feet of a school, park, or child-care facility.
The problem for the accused in this case is the availability of a videotape. This will prove the charge of voyeurism if it can be proven that the accused setup the camera with the intent of recording the teenage girl. Since the accused confessed (he’s a cop, he should of known better), the case will be relatively easy to prove.
Sex crimes cases that have no physical evidence - such as the touching of one’s feet - can be resolved favorably to the accused if insufficient evidence exists.
When you confess to law enforcement, you are handing the state their case on a silver platter.
No crime carries the stigma of a sex offense. This man will lose his job, his reputation, possibly his family, and very likely his freedom.
If you are accused of a sexual offense, do not speak to law enforcement under any circumstances without first speaking to a criminal defense attorney.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney representing clients charged with sex crimes in Miami-Dade and Broward.